Create Your Own Flexible Grid System & Launching a Career in Front End Dev

Talk #1: Forget Frameworks: Create Your Own Flexible Grid System

Grid frameworks share some common problems: they’re clunky, hard to modify and rely upon presentational markup. But the power of Sass can save us from frameworks. We can design flexible grids, create efficient code and ditch presentational markup for good. Learn how to create your own flexible grid system with Steve Hickey, UI Designer & Front-End Developer at Fresh Tilled Soil.

About the Speaker: Steve Hickey is the User Interface Designer at Fresh Tilled Soil - a team of designers, coders and UX experts that helps entrepreneurs and businesses create bloody brilliant user experiences for web and mobile applications through consulting, education, training, and events. Since 2005 they've helped 300+ clients including General Electric, Microsoft, MIT, Harvard, TEDx, Time Warner Cable, Walgreens, Hubspot among many others. Originally educated in print design, Steve adopted the web as his chosen medium shortly after graduating from college. From a humble start coding marketing emails, he quickly moved into creating standards-compliant websites built with clean and semantic HTML, CSS, and jQuery. An unflappable master of his craft, Steve loves a good design challenge. His finger is always on the pulse of UI/UX advances, making him the go-to guy to find out what’s next in design innovation.


Talk #2: #my-career { transition: all ease-in; }

Second talk canceled due to flu :(

Thanks to our Sponsors for providing space, food and drink.




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  • Dave G.

    It was great to meet so many folks last night, and Kyruus was quite happy to sponsor the food. Many of you asked for my contact information, and as I forgot my business cards, I thought I'd just post my email address here, in case folks are interested in the 8 open spots we currently have: [masked]. You can also check out the careers page directly:

    Again, great to meet you all.

    1 · January 24, 2013

    • Annette A.

      You should go to the Boston Healthcare Design conference, sounds right up Kyruus' alley.

      January 24, 2013

    • Barb O.

      Thanks Dave...I passed this on to folks I know

      January 25, 2013

  • Annette A.

    Also, anyone have details on how "overflow:visible" is a clearfix solution? Got my hopes up but it ain't working.

    January 24, 2013

    • Nick D.

      I don't think that was accurate. Css tricks has a good list of clearfix solutions if you search "CSS tricks clearfix"

      January 24, 2013

  • Nicholas D.

    Thanks Steve for your presentation last night!

    I just wanted to follow up on my announcement. GlobalPost is looking for a front-end developer with some PHP & Drupal experience. We are an acclaimed and fast-growing digital news company, building a team of developers to take our site to the next level. If you're a news junkie who loves to code, come be a part of our company and do important work you can be proud of. Make a difference and have your efforts seen by millions.

    The Job Requirements include:
    • Experience with Drupal and the Drupal web templating systems, CSS and JavaScript
    • Being well versed in multiple technologies and understanding the best technical approach to projects
    Required Qualifications:
    • Bachelor degree in computer science
    • Demonstrable experience in general web development
    • Experience with Drupal and PHP
    • Excellent knowledge and understanding of JavaScript and jQuery

    More info at:

    January 24, 2013

  • Steve H.

    Hi all. Here are the slides from my presentation:

    You can also find the demo I showed on GitHub:

    Finally, here are some links to things I mentioned during my talk.
    gridOverlay plugin:

    Thanks for listening!

    2 · January 23, 2013

    • Ilya S.

      Hard to believe that it was your first time speaking in public...

      1 · January 23, 2013

    • Julian J.

      Great! Thanks so much for a great presentation. It got me fired up!

      January 24, 2013

  • mat b.

    Informative, Fun, and great pace.

    January 24, 2013

  • Brian D.

    Excellent perspective & well presented. I don't believe that you've never presented before.

    January 24, 2013

  • Douglas R.

    late start but the presenter was well prepared. thank you. too bad the other presenter was sick, I wanted to see that talk.

    January 24, 2013

  • Nick D.

    hey everyone. heres the jquery plugin that i mentioned

    essentially it turns this ->

    <div data-draft-repeat="5">
    <img data-draft-img="250/300" />
    <span data-draft-text="3/s"></span>
    <span data-draft-date="M/y"></span>

    into 5 divs, each with a 250px by 300px image from image generator of your choice. 3 sentences from the lorem ipsum generator of your choice. and a formatted current/random date. does a lot of randomization (image colors etc) to help repetitiveness.

    essentially, i got tired of spending time writing a lot of php/rails when a interactive html prototype would of solved problems quicker

    star! fork! contribute! really though, id like to keep developing it would be awesome if any of you would like to help out with a simple open source project


    January 23, 2013

  • Ilya S.

    Hi everyone!

    I probably should've said this while mic was being passed around, but I need your help. If anybody you know is looking for a web production guy or front-end web development guy or Wordpress guy, would you please let me know? I'm working as a web production temp at BU and love the job, but its coming to an end very soon and I'm in bad need of a replacement!

    Got the skills to pay the bills too - couple of certificates + portfolio + experience: - portfolio

    Thank you for your time and nice meeting you all tonight!

    January 23, 2013

  • Stacey A.

    If you are interested in a Front End Design/Dev gig using Bootstrap please contact me. This is a small mvp web app.

    January 23, 2013

  • gary g.

    Great speaker, great topic, great questions.

    2 · January 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Here with Joel and we've been trying to get in for 20 min. :( nobody at security desk.

    January 23, 2013

  • D.Lo

    Is it possible this will be videotaped or that slides will be available for those of us missing out?

    January 23, 2013

  • A former member
    A former member

    Please inform people of the drawbacks to "rolling your own" grid system. I've worked on a poorly documented DIY grid system that I inherited after another dev left & let me tell you, it is a pain in the butt.

    If you plan to collaborate with others or hand the project off at some point, it is *probably not a good idea* to roll your own. Consider using a mature, well-documented grid system, for the next developer's sake. :)

    4 · January 18, 2013

    • Eddie H.

      Agreed, if the project is you're own personal project then awesome, good for you +1 personal achievement. However, if it's for a company or client use bootstrap (or other).

      January 22, 2013

    • Annette A.

      Unless you are Twitter, then you can roll your own.

      January 23, 2013

  • Annette A.

    It's cold out. If anyone wants to hop into my Uber car to Brighton after the talk, let me know. The total fare will be about $40, so math that. :)

    1 · January 23, 2013

  • David M.

    Hi Pascal - What time will Steve's talk start? At 7pm? 7:30pm?

    January 23, 2013

  • RT C.

    Grids are like opinions...

    January 21, 2013

    • Annette A.

      Opinions are like kittens...

      1 · January 22, 2013

    • Dmitry G.

      schrodinger's grid system, it is both mobile and desktop in equal parts and only settles in a state when directly observed!

      1 · January 23, 2013

  • Annette A.

    Steve rocks!!!

    January 12, 2013

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